Engel's Mailbag: Keeper questions

Josh, Grand Rapids, Mich.: I'm participating in my first keeper league, a 10-teamer going into its first offseason. I was lucky enough to land Carson Palmer and Frank Gore during the season via trades. I also landed the first pick in the draft for next season and am wondering what you would think of the three guys I'm going to list and in what order you would take them: Steve Smith, Joseph Addai and Shaun Alexander.

Engel: In any league, I would be surprised to see those players tossed back into the player pool. I wonder if you are simply speculating they might be available if no one has actually declared their keepers yet. If other owners are telling you these players won't be kept, don't believe them. If you ask around in your league, other owners will mostly bluff with you. No one wants to help you or reveal their own strategies. So be very prepared for any or all of these players to be actually unavailable in your upcoming draft. If you can indeed acquire them, Alexander is the clear No. 1 choice, as he should return to elite status next season and will give you one of the most outstanding RB combos in your league. You'll have a nearly unmatchable duo of No. 1 RBs. Smith would be my second choice. He is the best player at his position when healthy and gives you an elite guy to anchor the wide receiver spots. Addai is third, as his value is quickly rising, but he is not quite yet one of the very best players at his position like Alexander and Smith.